There's something about it staying light out later that makes me think I can get a million things done after work on a summer night. As if extra daylight gives me more hours in the day or that I'm somehow really energized after a day at the office... While I wish that were true, it doesn't stop me from operating like it were: A quick stop at a post-work blogging event, a few errands, an extra long dog walk, or a drink with the girls and before you know it it's 8:30 and I haven't thought about dinner. Please tell me this situation is not unique to me?
With all of that in mind, simple dinners are a must for me in the summer. I can work a long day, enjoy my productive evening, and still make a real dinner for Alex and me (that doesn't involve delivery or a walk down the street to our favorite pizza place). I'm always looking for more of these recipes and am in the process of developing a few at the moment. In the meantime, here are a few that I keep in rotation at this time of year. Keep them in mind for your next busy summer night!
1. Cherry Pecan Chicken Salad - On a hot night, this is a perfect cool dinner: Cool creamy dressing, chicken, sweet grapes, toasty nuts, and crunchy celery. Use a storebought rotisserie chicken to make this come together even more quickly!
2. Glazed Pork Tenderloin - Not a great photo (dug this one out of the early A Squared archives!), but a favorite recipe for sure. This glaze couldn't be easier or more flavorful. Just mix it up, baste, and grill and you have an awesome summer dinner!
3. Pan Seared Cajun Salmon with Broccoli Slaw - The cool semi-creamy slaw in this recipe can be made ahead of time, which saves time. Paired with spciy cajun salmon, it's a delicious combination of flavors.
4. Spicy Guacamole Grilled Cheese - This meatless grilled cheese is hearty from the addition of cool and creamy guacamole-- with some great Mexican flavor. And a grilled cheese sandwich comes together in a flash.
5. Caprese Pasta with Honey Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes - I love this sweet twist on caprese flavors. Roast the tomatoes, boil the pasta, combine the ingredients, and this meatless meal is on the table.
6. Pan Seared Sage Leaf Chicken Breasts - This chicken recipe loos super elegant, but is so easy to put together. And the flavors are amazing!
7. Easy Lemon Penne with Asparagus & Chicken - Using pre-cooked chicken, this is one of the fastest meals around. And with chicken, asparagus, and whole grain pasta, this is a true one dish dinner.
8. Jerk Pulled Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa (Slow Cooker) - Slow cooker to the rescue! Normally, slow cooker dinners feel more cold weather appropriate. These spiced tacos with a cool refreshing fruit salsa feel perfect for summertime.
9. Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- A fun hybrid of classic chicken caesar salad and cool summer pasta salad. Serve it cold on a hot night and make it ahead for a super easy dinner.
10. Smoked Mozzarella Grilled Cheese with Prosciutto, Arugula & Roasted Tomatoes - Because one grilled cheese recipe is never enough! I love the flavors in this grilled cheese sandwich and with roasted tomatoes purchased at the olive bar at Whole Foods, the only cooking required here is grilling the sandwiches.